Romantic comedies are much like marmite, you either love them or you hate them. But Marc Webb’s off-beat rom-com 500 Days of Summer provides a refreshing take on the genre with a story of boy meets girl that really keeps you guessing. The film opens on hopeless romantic, Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) an aspiring architect who writes gift cards for a living, and is waiting longingly to meet the girl of his dreams, and that is exactly what happens. When Tom is introduced to his boss’ new personal assistant, Summer (Zooey Deschanel) he thinks that he has finally found the one, but as the film so astutely warns at the beginning; this is not a love story.
500 Days of Summer takes a number of twists and turns, telling the story in a non-linear fashion that can sometimes cause confusion if you’re not paying attention to detail, but ultimately pays-off in the end. As Tom and Summer’s romance blossoms it’s easy to believe that the film will follow the same predictable route that rom-coms often do, but that’s not the case in this love story that’s not a love story.
During the course of the film there are a multitude of ups and downs, and moments that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure; including a surreal and unexpected dance number, which seems incredibly out of place but is executed magnificently. Despite the highs, there are also some tragic lows, which is perhaps what makes this film so beautiful. Though the film reaches incredible heights, it does not hesitate in bringing you back down to earth with a bang and tears your heart out as the crack’s start to show in Tom and Summer’s relationship. Zooey Deschanel does a brilliant job of being both completely loveable and equally cold as the couple begin to fall apart and it becomes increasingly apparent that this might not be true love as we had been foolishly lead to believe.
What really sets 500 Days of Summer apart from other rom-coms is the multitude of different interpretations when it comes to the message of the story. Despite the film’s stylish and unconventional tone, the many messages of the film ring incredibly true and are all equally touching. This produces some tear-jerking moments that are hit home masterfully by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in spite of the protagonist’s naivety.
If a long line of cheesy and predictable romantic-comedies have left a sour taste in your mouth, don’t let that put you off watching 500 Days of Summer. This is a film that’s far more than it’s genre allows you to believe.
Besides, it’s not a love story.
written by Louis Bray